Case details

Defense disputed extent of pedestrian’s alleged spinal injuries





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, disc protrusion, head, headaches, herniated disc, left foot, neck, nerve impingement, neurological, thoracic
On June 24, 2011, at around 7:36 p.m., plaintiff Natoshia Rachal, 25, a clerk, was walking in a crosswalk on University Avenue, in Riverside, when she was struck by a vehicle operated by Velda Brown. Rachal claimed to her head, back and left foot. Rachal sued Brown, alleging that Brown was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Brown claimed that she was traveling slowly and looking for a street when she struck Rachal. Thus, Brown admitted liability., Rachal suffered abrasions and complained of a headache after the accident. She was subsequently taken to Riverside Community Hospital, in Riverside. Rachal claimed she sustained thoracic disc protrusions to the T2-3 and T4-5 levels. She also claimed she sustained herniated lumbar discs to the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels, along with a nerve root impingement and annular tear. Rachal ultimately treated with chiropractic care, physical therapy, medication, and epidural injections. Rachal claimed that despite treatment, she continues to suffer back pain. She also claimed her condition caused her to develop a foot drop of her left leg. She alleged that as a result, she requires ongoing treatment. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon did not appear for trial, and the plaintiff’s expert spinal surgeon testified in his place. Numerous MRIs and CT scans were produced, and the plaintiff’s expert spinal surgeon opined that Rachal suffered from an indirect nerve root impingement. Thus, Rachal sought recovery of $800,000, including $80,000 for her past medical treatment, which included chiropractic care, physical therapy, CAT scans, MRIs, medication, and epidural injections. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Rachal’s . Counsel argued that Rachal exaggerated her claims and that there was no evidence of a herniation or nerve root impingement. The defense’s medical experts illustrated the lack of a traumatic injury as alleged by Rachal, showing that the were, at most, soft-tissue in nature. The defense’s expert radiologist testified that there was no such thing as an “indirect nerve root impingement” and that there were no disc herniations, just some protrusions. The expert also opined that Rachal’s long-term studies showed disc desiccation. Specifically, the radiologist testified that an MRI done one month after the accident and a CAT scan done six months after the accident both showed that Rachal had a bad back and desiccation of the discs.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Riverside, CA

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